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Old November 26th, 2011, 01:48 AM   #1 (permalink)
scary alien
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Device(s): LG Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy Nexus, Asus Nexus 7, Moto Droid X, HTC Droid Eris
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Default [HOW TO] Root the GSM/HSPA+ Samsung Galaxy Nexus

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There is no "root exploit" required to root the Samsung Galaxy Nexus since it comes with an unlockable bootloader. So, this means that there is not soon likely to be a 1-click or easy rooting app to run that exploits something in Ice Cream Sandwich in order to root the phone.

Here are the basic steps that need to be done in order to root the GNex:

1. Unlock the bootloader (warning: this does wipe the internal "SD card" portion of your phone)
2. Gain write access to the /system partition
3. Install the root binaries (su / Superuser.apk)

~ ~ ~ note about su.zip for ICS 4.0.4 (when flashing from ClockworkMod) ~ ~ ~

Note: some users who have upgraded to Android 4.0.4 have reported that older versions of su.zip from the clockworkmod site does not give them root. You can use this file: su.zip (from su.zip - File Shared from Box - Free Online File Storage) instead which IS reported to work).

~ ~ ~

Unfortunately, the biggest hurdle for folks using Microsoft Windows will be issues relating to getting the proper Samsung USB drivers installed and working properly. Please take note of the several options listed at the bottom of this post. For Mac and Linux users, this is fortunately not an issue.

The second biggest hurdle will be getting the adb and fastboot utilities installed and understanding how to use them.

Note: I did experience some hangs while using the fastboot and adb utilities when my USB cable was plugged-in to a USB 3.0 port; these issues disappeared when I reverted back to a USB 2.0 port.

Quick notes about adb / fastboot:



Your best bet will be to take your time, do your reading and research, and make sure you understand what you are about to do before doing it. Perusing the threads and posts here will go a long way towards letting you see what other issues folks have encountered.

Unlocking The Bootloader

*** Warning *** unlocking your bootloader will completely wipe your device's internal "SD card", so backup what you need / want to beforehand.

All of the rooting methods require that you have an unlocked bootloader. I've included this section here first and made reference to it in the root methods below it.

Code:
Note: be aware that the first reboot after you've unlocked the
bootloader (via fastboot oem unlock) can take up to five (5) 
minutes to finish; you'll see two cycles of the boot animation 
before it finishes.

Since unlocking the bootloader does a factory reset, the dalvik-cache, etc. 
needs to be rebuilt upon reboot (this takes times); just be patient and do not 
pull the battery...let the reboot complete.

If you do/did get antsy and pulled the battery before the boot completed, 
just relock (fastboot oem lock) and unlock (fastboot oem lock) the device 
and then reboot.
Click the Show button below for in-line instructions to unlock the bootloader:




- = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = -

Wug's Galaxy Nexus Root Toolkit

Pros:

-- guides you through all the tasks
-- works for both GSM and LTE versions of the device

Cons: none, really

AF link and discussion:

Here you go! One Step Unlock/Root or ReLock/Unroot!

Direct link:

Wug's Galaxy Nexus Root Toolkit

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ClockworkMod Method (courtesy of Koushik Dutta)

Pros:

-- simplest and fastest from what I've found
-- works for both GSM and LTE versions of the device
-- does not require a special (insecured) boot.img file

Cons: requires both adb and fastboot USB connectivity




- = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = - = -

Superboot Method (courtesy of Paul O'Brien of MoDaCo)

Pros:

-- simpler method for rooting (installs root binaries for you)
-- works for both GSM and LTE versions of the device

Cons: you'll still need to use fastboot to unlock your bootloader (if you haven't already)




--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(Slightly) Easier Manual Method (for now, GSM devices only!)

Pros: like the manual method, but doesn't require that you install Android SDK for adb / fastboot
Cons: still requires that you enter fastboot and adb commands




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-=< Root Warning / Disclaimer >=-




-=< Credits (Peter Alfonso / Paul O'Brien / XDA's davioxx) >=-




-=< Windows USB drivers >=-
(alternative versions contributed / suggested by various people):




-------------------------------------------
Cheers and thanks!
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Last edited by scary alien; May 14th, 2012 at 01:36 PM. Reason: update w/new su.zip package
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